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Publisher's Summary

"the audiobook is compelling and, on occasion, jaw-dropping."-- Vulture

Liz Scheier’s darkly funny and touching memoir—with shades of Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle and Mira Bartók’s The Memory Palace—of growing up in ’90s Manhattan with a brilliant, mendacious single mother

Scheier’s mother Judith was a news junkie, a hilarious storyteller, a fast-talking charmer you couldn’t look away from, a single mother whose devotion crossed the line into obsession, and—when in the grips of the mental illness that plagued every day of her life—a violent and abusive liar whose hold on reality was shaky at best. On an uneventful afternoon when Scheier was eighteen, her mother sauntered into the room to tell her two important things: one, she had been married for most of Scheier’s life to a man she’d never heard of, and two, the man she’d told Scheier was her father was entirely fictional. She’d made him up. Those two big lies were the start, but not the end; it took dozens of smaller lies to support them, and by the time she was done she had built a farcical, half-true life for the two of them, from fake social security number to fabricated husband.  

One hot July day twenty years later, Scheier receives a voicemail from Adult Protective Services, reporting that Judith has stopped paying rent and is refusing all offers of assistance. That call is the start of a shocking journey that takes the Scheiers, mother and daughter, deep into the cascading effects of decades of lies and deception.

Never Simple is the story of learning to survive—and, finally, trying to save—a complicated parent, as feared as she is loved, and as self-destructive as she is adoring.

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company.

©2022 Liz Scheier (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

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What listeners say about Never Simple

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A lot of WTF through narrative

I emphasized with the author for a truly dismal childhood.. But this catharsis is neither interesting nor well written

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Fine

I think the story was interesting. I trial, to be sure, to be the only child of a mentally unstable and violent single mother. Also, the idea of truth and lies, and how could you really know anything when practically everything you’ve been told is a lie. I wish the author would’ve focused a little more on her development of self as opposed to the straight-up linear play-by-play. How do you develop a self?” Has she developed a true “self-image?” I don’t know, because it’s never really delved into. My biggest critique is to the reader. If anyone has listened to the robotic TikTok female voice in videos, that’s what a BOOK felt like when listened to. Like fake AI reading a memoir. Maybe it’s the voice that is clouding my feelings of the story, I don’t know. I’m sure the reader is a lovely person, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. If you want a book with less abuse than the The Glass Castle and set in NYC, this is for you.

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Another great memoir written by a Jewish woman...

...from NY. While I am so done with 20something fiction that takes place in NY, I love all the memoirs written by Jewish women in their 40s or 50s about their crazy mothers. Other commonalities: well written, complex, the lasting impact of the Holocaust, and most of all the authors' ability to write their stories so well that you have empathy and an understanding of both the daughter and the mother.

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Well Worth the Read

Excellent book to help understand the painful/sad life of a person with borderline personality disorder. I am a retired mental health professional and I found it fascinating!

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Unbelievably compelling. Couldn’t stop listening.

WOW. What a story! This is a compelling personal narrative that will have you hooked from the beginning. Liz is an incredible storyteller. I listened to this in a couple of days. I was completely enthralled. I highly recommend this narrative for anyone navigating difficult times, looking for insight on how others managed and feeling the pains of living in the imperfection of humanity. So much amazing wisdom from Liz as she navigated a very difficult upbringing. I can’t believe this was a true story!

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I was expecting a different ride

i feel I boarded the wrong train. the insane story didn't match the level headed narration. was expecting a different tale.